You and I meet in a remote wilderness.
There sits an ancient and grayed stone castle.
I sit just inside of it.
You stand just outside.
You have come from a long and heavy battle.
You seek to conquer worlds.
And move across the mountains and deserts as a Conquerer.
Herein lies a glimpse of the quiet conversation between us:
You: Tell me what I must do.
Me: What is it that you seek?
You: I seek to conquer the world.
Me: To what end?
You: Conquest. Courage. Adventure.
Me: You have not answered my question.
You: I have armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands. I was made for conquest.
Me: Then yours will be a life of struggle.
You: It has been a struggle indeed. This is why I have come. To seek guidance so that I may be victorious.
Me: The victories that you seek may bring you land and title. But your life will remain a path of struggle. I have not the advice you seek.
You: Surely you do. Others have been victorious before me. They must have known what I do not.
Me: Theirs was also a life of struggle.
You: What is it that you have against conquest?
Me: Your suffering does not come from conquest. Your suffering comes from the significance that you attach to it.
You: Do you not believe conquest to be significant?
Me: Tell me, young prince. If you do not conquer, will you one day die?
Me: If you succeed in conquering, will you one day die?
Me: Then how can there be any significance?
You: Do you presume to tell me that I shall sit on a rock for the whole of my life?
Me: The man who conquers dies just as surely as the one who sits on a rock. The life of neither is significant. Neither one is in any way superior or more joyful than the other. But whether he spends his life in conquest, or he spends it sitting on a rock, the one who attaches no significance to it will have Learned.
You: And what is the benefit of this Learning?
Me: The benefit of this learning is to avoid suffering.
You: Then do you suggest that I not conquer?
Me: Nor do I suggest that you sit on a rock.
You: Then what is it that you suggest I do?
Me: I have no wish to give you advice.
You: But why?
Me: You have been given advice for the whole of your life. Has it done anything for you?
You: If you will not give me advice, then perhaps you can show me the way.
Me: The way to what?
You: The way to avoid living a life of suffering.
Me: In all that you do, seek The Truth.
You: How will I know when I have found it?
Me: Thought cannot be trusted. The mind is a liar. Knowledge is limited. But the feeling that arises independent of the intermediary of thought . . . this is genuine.
You: But I must confess. I do enjoy conquering lands.
You: Is that wrong?
Me: Nothing is wrong.
You: But you do not seem to approve of it.
Me: Why is it that you seek my approval?
You: So that I may do what is right.
Me: Why do you seek to do what is right?
You: So that I do not go astray.
Me: What do you mean by ‘go astray?’
You: So that I do not suffer.
Me: Suffering comes to those who have goals. If your goal is to conquer, then you will suffer.
You: What you are saying, then, is that I must give up that which I love.
Me: You play such romantic and dramatic games.
You: How do you mean?
Me: Who mentioned anything about giving up that which you love?
You: You said that if my goal is to conquer, then I will suffer.
You: Then I don’t understand.
Me: My dear prince, the bliss is in the conquering. Suffering is in the “having conquered.”
You: No significance.
Me: Indeed, young prince . . . Indeed.